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Us 9, Tom Harkin 8, Mitch Mcconnell 7, Washington 6, U.s. 6, Dana 3, Iowa 3, America 3, Biden 3, Clinton 2, Obama 2, Alison Kosik 2, Ryan 2, New York 2, London 2, Unitedhealthcare 2, Brianna Keilar 2, Joe Biden 2, Campbell 2, United States 1,
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  CNN    CNN Newsroom    News/Business. Latest on the day's top news stories  
   with a focus on global news, trends and destinations. New.  

    December 31, 2012
    8:00 - 8:59am PST  

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it's struggled with its slowing pc sales. it had to take a $9 billion charge related to accounting fraud. it's really been a tough year as well for intel. down 17% this year. intel has been hit as most people are shifting away from b buying personal computers. they are putting money into tablets. mcdonald's lost 13% this year. and caterpillar and.edu pont, those dipped as well. the themes with the weakest, a lot of these companies have big international exposure. you can see how the global economic crisis has hit us here at home. >> thanks for that. alison kosik, happy new year to you. >> same to you. thank you. i'm joe johns. thanks for joining us today. cnn newsroom continues right now with christine romans. >> hello, everyone. welcome to our viewers around
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the world. and happy new year. today is the day to celebrate. but it's also a day to worry. it's the last day of the year. the last day to avert the fiscal cliff before americans plunge head long into smaller paychecks. the u.s. snalt gets back to work right about now. the house has been in session for about an hour now. senate leaders are the ones trying to hammer out a deal picking tax break ceilings, trying to lessen the impact of spending cuts. there are still major obstacles to pass. but this morning we're hearing that progress is being made. we'll have more on that and the fiscal cliff negotiations in a minute. first, i want to show you the rest of the world is ringing in the new year. midnight arrived in asia. they are calling it a pyre tech nick musical. they were scheduled to begin an hour before midnight. hong kong on the top ten places to ring in the new year. let's listen.
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♪ ♪
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♪ ♪
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ring in the new year, good morning 2013. we'll continue to monitor all of these celebrations as the day rolls on. the night rolls on in some cases. midnight in the u.s. is the big fiscal cliff deadline. there are two fronts we are watching today. capitol hill and wall street. let's see if there's any movement on capitol hill. stock markets moving up because it's a little erratic. dana bash is watching that live for us. dana, last hour you were saying progress is being made. now you've been hearing rumblings on the opposite from the far left. what are you hearing now? >> very interesting. we have been hearing from both sides of the aisle that part of the big issue has been to get over objections from conservative republicans who are not going to be happy with any
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potential deal. i just spoke with tom harkin who is a democrat being from iowa. and he's also a leading progressive. he said that he and other progressives might be the ones object or to try to stop any potential deal. the reason he says he's so upset is because he does not like the idea that we have been reporting of keeping the tax cuts in place of income levels up to $450,000. he believes that's too high. the president, as we know, campaigned with a lot of democratic support on $250,000. harkin said he's not happy with the idea that democrats are talking about keeping the estate tax cut in place, which also expires tonight. and he's not happy with talk of patching the amt, which is effectively when the middle class gets -- i'm going to toss it back to you because mitch
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mcconnell, we believe is on the floor, he's the key negotiator on the republican party. >> let's go to mitch mcconnell on the floor. he's been the closer on this. i'm going to go back to you, dana. he's not there quite yet. this is all in the hands of the senate at this point. you were talking about tom harkin. the it's something progressives hated, this idea of social security changes being on the table. they won on that. >> i have to tell you i'm having some audio problems but i think you asked about social security. so i'm going to go with that. that was a potential issue yesterday. it seems to have been resolved. republicans, we were told by democrats, this was a clear tactic to tell us about this. republicans had put that on the table. the idea of so-called chained cpi which would have an effect on social security recipients. republicans backed off on that after a meeting yesterday. that doesn't seem to be on the
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table. but forgive me, i thought mitch mcconnell was on the floor. the other thing i wanted to tell you about is mcconnell and the vice president have been in intense negotiations up until 12:45 in the morning and 6:30 in the morning and the negotiations are continuing. that's why we're getting from both sides of the aisle despite some grumbling on the flanks of the left and the right that they are making progress. >> all right. i want to listen to what tom harkin, the veteran senator from iowa. the progressive unhappy with parts of the negotiations. let's listen to him for a minute. >> that's the real middle class in america. they are the ones getting hammered right now. they are getting hammered with housing costs, rental, heating bills, kids going to school. they have no retirement.
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now they are talking about raising the retirement age on people who work hard every day. women standing on their feet for 30, 40 years and raise the retirement age again on them. well, again, if we're going to have a deal, the deal must be one that does favor the middle class. the real middle class. those making 30, 40, $70,000 a year. that's the real middle class in america. as i see this thing developing, quite frankly as i have said before, no deal is better than a bad deal. this looks like a bad deal the way this is shaping up. so i just want to make it clear. i'm all in favor of compromise. i've been here a long time. i have made a lot of compromises. >> that's tom harkin, the
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democratic senator from iowa saying this deal doesn't look good to him. if a deal is reached in congress, the president still has to sign it. president obama set his terms and challenged the house and senate to get it it done. brianna keilar joins me now. is the president just sitting in the oval office waiting for a bill to get delivered to him? where's he in all of this? >> reporter: vice president biden is very much the president's proxy in all of this. it's easy to understand why. both the president and vice president served in the senate, but biden served in the senate for decades with all of the players that he now has to engage with. he knows the personalities. he knows the rhythms of the senate and of congress better than president obama, you could argue. it makes sense that he's serving as the president's proxy. this is something the president is engaged with. this is something the white house is very engaged with. he said yesterday he's optimistic that a deal can be struck. i think that's not surprising. that's what you'd expect to come from president obama.
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but we're also -- we sort of said tonight is the deadline and that's true because a lot of the tax cuts expire at midnight. the sense we're getting from a lot of sources and from members of congress is that perhaps tonight isn't a hard and fast deadline. mitch mcconnell and the vice president are negotiating in earnest to find a deal. but it's sort of difficult to see how exactly that may come to be by midnight and have votes in the senate and house. the thought is that going over the cliff gives cover for some democrats and certainly some republicans. there will be a lot more pressure after the cliff comes to be to put a solution in place. even after midnight were to come and go, we would see them wo working towards an agreement, e we would expect. >> politicking around a cliff that was always meant to be sort of the suicide that would never be.
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john avalon said, congress is raising to diffuse a time bomb that congress wired. >> reporter: that's true. the thing is, and we will continue to be in this process. now the expectation, obviously, is that dealing with the long-term fiscal health, that will now get into the mix with the debt ceiling, which we're looking at in february and march. we'll be talking about these issues for a long time to come. >> for another metaphor, we're in the second inning of another long and painful process of how to have a skbugt how to stick to it. thanks, brianna keilar. we'll take a closer look at the cliff and what failure to reach a deal could do to your paycheck and when. we'll also look at the hit that you're going to take even if they do reach a deal. first here's a look at other top stories we're following. secretary of state hillary clinton is in the hospital
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because doctors discovered she had a blood clot. it was found during a followup exam for the concussion she suffered earlier this month. she was suffering from a virus and was dehydrated at that time. doctors say they will keep her in the hospital for 48 hours to monitor her condition. after 80 years on the newsstand "newsweek" is going all digital which means you can only read it online. the final issue baring today's date has #lastprintissue stamped across the cover. the growing use of tablet computers by readers combined with weakness in print advertising led to this decision. oregon state police are trying to figure out why a charter bus skidded off a highway and tumbled 200 feet down a snowy embankment. many of the passengers were ejected as it rolled down the
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hill. 9 people died and two dozen others were hurt. the driver has not yet talked to investigators to determine exactly what happened there. the bus was returning to vancouver from las vegas. tyeah, its the galaxy note ii.re great. you can do two things at the same time. you can watch videos and text. or you could watch the earnings report and take notes, like we're supposed to. so... can i get it? yeah. okay either of you put together the earnings report yet? yes, me totally. what? why don't you tackle the next quarter. you eat yet? polynesian? pu pu platter? yup! keep up the good work. i will keep up the good work. do more with the new samsung galaxy note ii. because for every 2 pounds you lose through diet and exercise, alli can help you lose one more by blocking some of the fat you eat.
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i cannot begin to tell you how irresponsible i think this has been for both parties to play all the politics they have been playing and leaving the people out -- leaving the people's concerns out and just
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letting this thing happen. both parties are responsible for this. both of them have been playing just little silly games. >> that was rick huffman sounding off on the silly games lawmakers are playing in washington. let's get off the politics and focus on the bottom line. how falling off the cliff would affect you and me. a roundtable of all stars joining me. hal sirkun, mya mcginnis, and contributor ryan lizzo. ryan, let me start with you on what's new this second. there's a lot of toing and free throwing about what the sticking points seem to be. it looks like a couple sources telling our chief white house correspondent jessica yel yellin
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that a possible delay of the sequester is a possibility. what are you hearing is happening right now? >> the big news and this is going to break your rule of what it talks about getting into the politics is what we saw with tom harkin on the senate floor. right now liberals and some prominent democrats are rebelling against what's being reported as the outlines of this it deal. the outlines of some reports are the threshold goes to $450,000, that's taxes would go up for income over $450,000. that's $200,000 higher than obama's campaign promise. there's a short-term extension of unemployment insurance, which would be a win for the white house. and then some kind of compromise on the estate tax. but a lot of democrats, especially a lot of liberals, do not think this is a great deal. that's why you saw tom harkin
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railing against it. we don't know what the final number is, but right now it looks like if the deal as it's being reported it would be a big victory for the republicans. >> so this is still a work in progress. >> absolutely. >> so let's put the politics aside for a minute and the new politics of the politics and let's talk about the people. so hal, in my view, the first group to get hurt if a deal is not reached is the unemployed. the people who lose, maybe 2 million people who lose unemployment benefits is set to expire. that last check would have been on the 29th of december. right? >> yes. they are the first ones to get hit and quickly after every american gets t who are working because we have the payroll increase. so everybody's paycheck will drop by 2%. we have the unemployed who need
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the money and we have the common working man who needs the money getting hit at the same time. >> so mya, now you have the working americans, americans who aren't working and i'm a mom. and i'm looking at some of the tax credits, tax advantages really for people who have children that will be scaled back or lost including a tax credit especially helpful to low-income families for sending their kids to college. talk to me about the effect of families ongoing over the cliff here. >> that's right. some of the tax breaks that have been expanded and put into the tax bills over the past years would be lost abruptly. part of the issue is it's not being done in a thoughtful way. there are so many tax breaks, many of which we should be overhauling. and changing them as part of tax reform. that's not what we're doing here at all.
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we're using the blunt tool of letting things expire, which will have real effects. those that need the tax breaks the most. >> you're somebody who has been critical of the american budget process. you said we have got to get some sanity in how we're spending our tax policy. but this is not the way to do it. >> that's right. and i'm also somebody who believes that revenues need to go up. but we don't do it in a way by saying let's put these huge tools into the budget and congress takes no affirmative action picking what's working and how to do the budget and a thoughtful budget that lays out how we want to spend our dollars and pay for them. this is saying we can't figure it out, we can't work together and we'll let these things expire in a damaging way and an abrupt way. another thing is if we do this all at once, it puts the economy
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back in recession. so not only are people who are losing their unemployment benefits harmed, people who would have been able to get back to work if the economy started growing are less likely to have that chance. the damage to the economy is going to harm all of us in addition to the fact that many of these benefits and tax policies would be changed in ways that weren't thoroughly thought out. >> nearly 890% -- 90% of u.s. households would pay more in taxes. pretty much everyone earning more than $40,000 a year would be affected. you can see the next level is $2,000 more. you get the picture. ryan, bottom line, with all these people facing higher taxes, why in the world are we having this fight still? >> well, i think it's important to point out that we might get some kind of agreement that
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passes the house and senate. i think there's some chance that will happen today, but people should not confuse a piece of legislation with a comprehensive solution to all the problems that the fiscal cliff encompasses. no matter what happens today, washington failed. the white house failed. they will not solve all the issues put in front of them. and if you get a deal today, it's likely going to kick down a few months down the road a lot of the key issues. they are talking about a mini deal that will deal with tax rates. it might deal with unemployment insurance. but it's not a comprehensive solution. people should be aware of that when they see reports later on today that there's been some deal. >> i think you're absolutely right. all three of you, we face this period of deadline after e deadline, short-term solutions to long-term problems. . it shows a budget process that's
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aggravating. so far the world markets have been saying we still think america is the best place to invest. ironically, all of this drama about us getting out of debt has made it cheaper for us to borrow money. we have a lot of work to do. we will be talking about this in the days to come. thanks all of you. next i'll ask what measures lawmakers are taking to avoid this manmade, this congress-made disaster. that over time, having high cholesterol and any of these risk factors can put them at increased risk for plaque buildup in their arteries. so it's even more important to lower their cholesterol, and that's why, when diet and exercise alone aren't enough, i prescribe crestor. in a clinical trial versus lipitor, crestor got more high-risk patients' bad cholesterol to a goal of under 100. [ female announcer ] crestor is not right for everyone. like people with liver disease or women who are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant.
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we keep talking about health care or unemployment, education,
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social security, yet we continue to spend billions in foreign aid for similar programs in other countries. does this make sense to you? >> last day for trading in 2012. we're going to look at the big board. right now it's down 4 points or so. the dow opening down double digits this morning. it's been bouncing around. investors are waiting to see what's going to happen in washington over the fiscal cliff. joining me from london is richard quest. good afternoon to you. europe has seen its own budget crisis over the past few years. are there any valuable take aways that lawmakers in the u.s. could use as guidance? >> i'm not sure. i thought very long and hard since i knew we were discussing this for parallels. and i think what you really come down to is that of compromise. and the ability to do a deal. when in the face of opposition,
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you just have to get something done because the ramifications are so serious if you don't. in the case of the eurozone, you had 27 countries and nobody could agree and you had different political philosoph s philosophies. that sounds similar to the fiscal cliff and certainly the eurozone pushed things to the absolute limit. almost to breaking point during the summer where again and again they would not agree until disaster was on their doorstep. that's the similarity to what we're seeing tonight. >> i know. we're hearing that negotiations are ongoing. they are continuing. there are a number of issues on both sides. ryan lizza following this. it appears as though obviously some elements of this have to be pushed forward. maybe pushing parts of the sequester.
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i see a series of cliffs that again and again this congress is going to have to handle, which cannot be good for global economic security. >> you've put your finger perfectly on it. this is not a one-shot wonder. back to the eurozone crisis, yes, you can hit the deadline and you can put humtty dumpty back together again. they did it with greece and the fiscal compact and the uk v vetoing the agreements. you can put it back together again. but there's an enormous amount of damage, a lack of credibility and a feeling of lack of investor confidence that's taken place during that process. and to your very point, let's look at this for a second. we have the fiscal cliff. you then have the debt ceiling. don't forget the debt ceiling.
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then you go back to the middle of 2013. by the time you get to it, you're back to a budget impass once again. so you're right, it's perpetual cliffs and falls and slowdowns. >> that just is not very heartening, my friend. so why is the u.s. stock market having one of the best years, one of the ten best years ever? >> that's an easy one. firstly, very low. 2008, look at the graph. and it's gone like that all the way down and it's come back up again and equities remain cheap. bonds weren't doing that much. it was a perfect opportunity to take advantage of certain special situations. but don't be fooled. there's an element of scotch missed about this. the first whiff of really nasty problems, you're going to see the market volatility. we know the index.
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we know high frequency trading. we know the time bombs are out there if somebody chooses to detonate them. there's no question that the fragility of that which we are seeing remains firmly in place. >> an element of scotch missed about this. you always enlighten me. thank you. richard quest in london, thank you. ow! ow! [ male announcer ] your favorite foods fighting you? fight back fast with tums. calcium-rich tums starts working so fast you'll forget you had heartburn. ♪ tum tum tum tum tums
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this entire fiscal cliff problem isn't just an isolated incident. it's representative of how partisanship have taken over congress. i'm 18 and i go to college in d.c. i used to be excited for the future, but i don't want to live
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in a country that doesn't have a successful working legislator. congress, it's time for you to remember what your purpose is and get back to doing your job. >> the fiscal cliff is self-imposed disaster. approved by the lawmakers who can't seem to agree on how to avoid what they created in the first place. vice president joe biden and mitch mcconnell are at the center of the talks. and we're locked in urgent negotiations late last night while the senate has just reconvened while the house is on standby. good morning, sir. if it comes down to a vote, you're the one who will count the votes as the house minority whip. what are you hearing from your senate counterparts this morning? any signs of progress there? >> there are some signs of progress. we have heard that there is another offer on the table by the administration to reach
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agreement. in terms of the specifics, i don't know all the specifics. some of which i'm not too happy with. some of which i don't think make the math work, but i think the most important objective is of the administration's and to not go over this cliff, to make sure working americans don't get a tax increase tomorrow and to make sure that those on unemployment who have been unable to find a job have some help in the week ahead. i think we need to keep our powder dry to remain positive. there's still time to act and we need to reach agreement. both sides need to be willing to do that. >> it's a work in progress. the details are emerging. you don't know all the specifics but some of the specifics you don't like. >> i think the president was
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correct on his $250 threshold for making sure nobody below those amounts got a tax increase. over that i think some of the people who are making more than that can help address the deficit and the debt problem that confronts our country. obviously a necessity put this country on a path. if we're going to do that, everybody has to make a contribution toward that. those who have the most need to make their contributions. so the math has got to work. we're not really dealing with the math at this point in time. we're dealing simply with what are the realities of the ability to get to an agreement and create consensus, which is going to be essential if we don't go over the cliff at midnight tonight. so clearly the administration has been working very hard. i think others have been working hard. hopefully we'll get there.
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>> i know you're measuring this in hours. in fact, as my colleague points out, 517 days ago is when this was wrought by the bodies trying to fix it. on the senate side, tom harkin made it clear they may try to block that vote over the thing you're talking about. i want to listen to what he said on the floor just moments ago. >> if we're going to have some kind of a deal, it must favor the middle class. the real middle class. as i have said before, no deal is better than a bad deal, this looks like a bad deal the way this is shaping up. >> i have heard other democrats and liberals say there is an incentive for the president and for congress to let the country go over the fiscal cliff. would your party have more leverage if we went over the cliff? >> i think both leader pelosi
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and i said going over the cliff ought not to be an option. it will be an indication of failure of the congress to work as it should. this has been the least effective, most confrontational congress in which i have served. i came here in 1981. so i think going over the cliff is not our preferred choice at all. we think we need to get to a compromise, which as i said, will procollude taxes from going up on middle income americans, provide for the unemployment insurance. i they we also provide for the reimbursement of doctors giving services to medicare patients. butt fact of the matter is it's been very difficult to reach compromise. i think the president of the united states and is now through vice president biden trying to reach a compromise. a compromise by its very definition means that neither side gets exactly what it wants.
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the difficulty from the house of representatives last week the republicans indicate d that the wouldn't even be for any kind of a tax increase on those making $1 million a year. if they are going to continue on that stance, we are not going to get to a come bpromicompromise. but frankly at $450,000 the math will not work to get us on a fiscally sustainable path. it may get us to an agreement, but it won't get us to fiscal stainability. >> we'll have a lot more of theefz fights ahead. even with the framework, you're going to have to talk about unemployment benefits again and there's just a lot of work to be done. >> i think you're absolutely correct. let me say, though, obviously we can continue to work on those when the new year comes our work is not going to end. it's not the end of the world.
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we'll have to continue to work on sequestration. even if it goes into effect on the 2nd. we need to work on the adverse consequences of that happening. >> congressman from maryland, lots of work to do. thank you, sir. next we'll hear from republican congressman howard mckin about the fiscal cliff talks from the other side of the aisle. this family used capital one venture miles
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secretary of state hillary clinton will be ringing in the new year from a hospital. doctors closely monitoring clinton for the next couple days. they discovered a blood clot during a followup exam related to a concussion she suffered earlier this month. the state department issued this statement saying "she's being treated with blood thinners and is at new york hospital to monitor the medication. her doctors will continue to assess her condition including other issues associated with her concussion." here's dr. sanjay gupta with more perspective on her condition. >> there was a few important things in that statement from the state department regarding the secretary of state. first of all, they say she had a
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blood clot but it's somewhere in her body. they don't say where. they say it's related to her concussion, but we're not entirely sure how. the only thing we know is she's on blood thinners at this time. she will be in the hospital over new year's getting monitored for that medication. what we know is a few weeks ago we she had this concussion. she was asked to take it easy. the concern now is that this blood clot that's formed needs to be addressed in some way. it seems unlikely that the clot is on top of the brain, which is what you might think given its relation to the concussion. the reason you wouldn't treat that clot with blood thinners, it can make the bleeding worse and could prohibit an operation from occurring if an operation was necessary. that's almost never the case. the type of clot they are talking about is in some of the blooz vessels in the body like the veins.
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thrombosis, you can see the veins that form and they can be treated with the blood thinners, but if they are not, they can break off and travel throughout the body. it could be veins located around the head being treated with blood thinners. we don't know at this time. we know that the secretary of state back in 1998, at the time i worked for her, she had a deep thrombosis at that time as well. she described it as one of the more frightening medical experiences she's ever had. trying to prevent that is key. other things that put her at risk is a lot of air travel. she's the most frequently traveled secretary of state in history. she was told to take it easy after the concussion. those things can all put you at risk. we do know she's getting the medications and will be in the hospital for a couple days. as we get more details, we'll bring them to you. >> thanks. up until this point, she was wrapping up her busy tenure as secretary of state. she's been pretty much going
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try capzasin-hp. it penetrates deep to block pain signals for hours of relief. capzasin-hp. take the pain out of arthritis. deal or no deal in the senate. we're hearing about a lot of process and progress. maybe not the kind of progress we were expecting or hoping for. congressional correspondent dana
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bash is on the hill. what are you hearing about a possible short-term deal, a pushoff of the se quest, which would create another mini cliff down the road. what's the drama around this. >> we have been hearing over the past hour from congressional democratic sources telling us that republicans are pushing to delay the sequester, which is $110 billion in spending cuts, to delay it for three months. democrats on capitol hill are saying that they don't want to do anything less than a year. they want to delay the sequester for at least a year. and what is fascinating about this is what has happened over the past 24 hours or so is when we learn about things when they hit a snag, it's for a purpose. it's to send a signal to somebody or to try to put the brakes on something. it appears to be the the case
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right now. specifically congressional democrats are concerned that the vice president, who is the prime negotiator right now with mitch mcconnell, that he's potentially prepared to cut a deal that delays the sequester, these spending cuts for three months, and that's something that democrats here on capitol hill don't want. a congressional democratic aid said to me the emerging deal that creates another cliff in three months can't pass meaning they believe it's a horrible idea because we'll be back where we are in three months trying to figure out how to find spending custs. interesting drama now about how this is shaping up as the negotiators are talking furiously. by that i mean, mitch mcconnell and joe biden, keeping people here on capitol hill in the loop and some of what they are hearing, they are happy about, some not so happy. that's where we are right now.
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>> the republican drama has been about raising taxes on anyone. even the very richest. as the day goes on, it looks as though they are coming to sort -- feels, i should say. now you're seeing that introparty controversy happening on the democratic side. >> that's right. this is one issue. but another issue we talked about earlier in the hour are just generally the progressives or liberals in the democratic caucus making clear they don't like what they are hearing. specifically the idea that households would keep their tax cuts in place up to $450,000. i should add since we last talked, jessica yellin learned that the threshold they are talking now is $450,000 and ind $400,000. that's new since we talked. in general, yes, we hear
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progressives, tom harkin, your home state senator from iowa, leading liberal in the senate, veteran senator. he has made clear he does not want that. he told me he may try to block a deal to stop it. >> unemployment benefits, the payroll tax holiday, the estate tax. the amt, the doc fix. it's more than just rates that we're talking about here, and it's more than just the sequester. there's all these patches. any clarity on those? >> reporter: you're absolutely right. there's so much. on the payroll tax, i have not heard anybody talk about continuing that. it doesn't mean it might not pop up at the last-minute, but what it means is that everything will see a little bit of a bite taken out of the paycheck no matter what because the payroll tax holiday gifforoes away. on the amt, many of us working the story at cnn were told they're talking about patching it that permanently.
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then i got anner mail from a democratic source saying it's not true. the estate tax lower than it was on the table seems to still be on the table. all of these things are still worked out. you're absolutely right. there's so mauch here and affecs people where it matters most, in their wallets and paychecks. >> parents, teachers, college students, every working american, doctors, i could go on and on forever. dana bash watching the emerging sketches of a deal. we'll see where it leads. thanks, and back in two minutes. [ whistle blows ]
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my new year's message to washington is this. there are not enough wealthy people or corporations to keep you in office. in that light please simply grow up, govern, but more importantly support middle class policies. >> all right. so both parties now telling us they want to fix this thing. they don't want to go, you know, head first over the fiscal cliff at midnight. how they're going to get there, though, still uncertain with mere hours to go. it's not just the i-reporters baffled and worried about the fiscal cliff. wall street is baffled and worried. let's get straight to alison kosik at the new york stock exchange. investors clearly on edge and stocks are lower and up and down, they aren't going to make any big moves on the last day of
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the year not knowing what's going to happen with the cliff. >> a wait and see mode, christine. the stocks are flat right now. the investors are waiting for lawmakers to make their move. what's interesting this session, stocks started off deeper in the red. they turned around. they're more flat now because the market really is trading on these headlines coming out of washington. right now those headlines seem more positive than negative. volatility could pick up toward the close as we get closer to the deadline and investors get more uneasy about holding onto their positions because they're gun-shy to hold onto positions because they don't know which way lawmakers will go on wednesday when the markets re-open after new year's day. >> they made a lot of money this year. let's be honest, this has been a good year in stocks, despite all the fiscal cliff uncertainty. i mean, this could be one of the ten best years ever for one of the major averages, even with the fiscal cliff uncertainty.
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>> you're right about that. wall street had a decent year. the dow is up 6% and the nasdaq is up 14%, and the s&p 500, that mostly tracks your retirement savings up more than 11%. we've seen a slow churn upward over the course of the year, and that's how you want to see the market move. much has to do with the improving economy. the question is what will happen when we go on over the cliff, will we see stocks fall and what will happen to the economy? we know it wouldn't look good for the economy at this point. christine. >> no, it won't. thank you. here's how the markets are reacting as we edge closer to the fiscal cliff and investors brace for the potential fallout.
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oh, let me guess --ou see this? more washington gridlock. no, it's worse -- look, our taxes are about to go up. not the taxes on our dividends though, right? that's a big part of our retirement. oh, no, it's dividends, too.
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the rate on our dividends would more than double. but we depend on our dividends to help pay our bills. we worked hard to save. well, the president and congress have got to work together to stop this dividend tax hike. before it's too late. okay, guys. time to forget about all the fiscal cliff negotiations for just a moment. why? because the entire world is it throwing a giant party to ring in the new year. alina choi is doing her best to keep warm in times square as preparations for tonight kick into high gear. >> reporter: good morning. great to see you. from all the talk about the crystal ball, the confetti and new year's resolutions, here's what you need to know if you come to times square tonight. dress warmly it is frigidly cold, and